Meet Your Local Kidney Expert
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When you walk into a dialysis center you may see the staff wearing medical “scrubs” and “lab coats." You may wonder, since they're dressed alike, if everyone has the same job. While the health care professionals who take care of you are all specially trained, they all have different jobs. In this series of eight articles we will see how each member has a specific purpose to make up your health care team. Let's start with nurses.
Nurses are caring individuals. After all, that's what they do: provide care. Registered nurses (RNs) who care for patients who have kidney disease are called nephrology nurses. The word nephrology means, “relating to the kidneys.” Nephrology nurses are specially trained and educated to care for patients with kidney disease.
Some dialysis patients don't get hemodialysis in a center but perform peritoneal dialysis (PD) at home or hemodialysis at home. These patients also rely on nephrology nurses to plan, coordinate and oversee their care. While many of the responsibilities of the peritoneal dialysis (PD) and home hemodialysis nurse are the same as in-center hemodialysis nurses, there are some differences.
PD and home hemodialysis nurses have excellent teaching skills. They teach their patients how to perform their own treatments at home and give them the knowledge to know what to do if any complications occur during their treatment.
Want to find out why you're feeling a certain way? Have questions about your health? Need an explanation about a doctor's order? Ask your nurse. Each time you go into the center for your dialysis treatment, a nurse will talk to you to find out how you're feeling. This is a good time to ask all of your questions so you can get the answers you need.
Many dialysis nurses find their jobs very rewarding because they get to provide treatment for the same patients regularly and follow their care over time. Patients also report that they appreciate being treated by RNs who know their condition and with whom they have developed a bond.
Another perk for dialysis nurses may be that many hemodialysis centers are closed on Sunday because of the Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday dialysis schedule. Even though some patients dialyze in the wee hours of the morning and others go into the late evening, there isn't an over night shift that has to be covered, which allows for more reasonable work hours.
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